Pinot Noir disciples far and wide depend on Chris’ well-trained instincts in the vineyard. As steward of some of Sonoma and Russian River Valley’s most treasured grape growing acres, Chris deals with issues like pest and disease control and water conservation on a daily basis. Chris’ strength in the vineyards comes from an extensive background in both farming and agriculture, and an innate ability to draw from both philosophies as vineyard situations demand.
He studied at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and graduated with a B.S. in Agribusiness Management. After studying alternative farming methods and practices growing organic vegetables for a number of years in Sonoma County, Chris felt a desire to challenge himself by taking up grape growing. He joined Sonoma Grapevines, diving into his role and expanding his knowledge while completing his AS in Viticulture from the highly respected SRJC, a hands-on education that helped hone Chris’ talents at vineyard best practices and management.
In 1999, Chris teamed up with Lloyd Vineyard Management in Healdsburg, California. Chris and LVM partner Doug planted our first blocks at the Estate Vineyard in 2002, vineyards that today add to the Williams Selyem reputation for monumental Pinot Noir. In 2006, he went out on his own, and he and his wife Tanya started Bowland Vineyard Management. They currently manage all of our Estate vineyards and a number of our grower vineyards, for a total of over 400 acres of ultra-premium wine grapes in both the Russian River and Bennett Valley AVA’s.
Chris is passionate about grape growing in Sonoma County and farming in a sustainable manner. If you can’t find him tending to the needs of the vineyards, he will likely be in his garden or fishing on a friend’s pond or the Russian River.
Chris counts 1991 and 2006 as some of his most memorable vintages—the first year is when he was married and the second when he started his own company. The year he started his own company, Sonoma County Pinot was noted as being, “feminine and sexy” with “violets and mocha” filling the nose.